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Old Windhoek Cemetry

Windhoek | Namibia

The Old Windhoek Cemetery in Windhoek consists of 2 sections, named the eastern and western sections. They are situated on both sides of Robert Mugabe Avenue. The eastern section has 107 graves and the western section has 989 graves, of which 319 are children.

The eastern section was first used in 1892 and it was expanded in 1904. Soldiers who died during the Nama and Herero Wars are buried here. The graves of German officials, settlers, civilians and members of the Witbooi clan are all to be found in the eastern section.

In the western section of the cemetery there are are a number of soldiers buried. Graves include members of the Union of South Africa who were killed during WW1. The most notable casualty buried here is that of Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-Colonel) Joachim von Heydebreck, the commanding officer of the German forces at the outbreak of WW1. He died of injuries on 12th November 1914, sustained as a result of the explosion of rifle grenades in an attack at South Kalkfontein, by Boer rebel forces in the German South Africa War.

In 1918 the western section of the cemetery was extended northwards to accommodate 157 victims of people who died within a few months of each other due to an influenza epidemic. An extension to the eastern section was readied in case of further outbreaks of the influenza virus, but fortunately it was never used. In its place a 'cross of sacrifice' was erected. In 1981 gravestones of Union of South Africa troops were located around this cross.

The Old Windhoek Cemetery in Windhoek was provisionally proclaimed a national monument on 9th December 1987, but unfortunately its proclamation has lapsed.

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